While Fox News endlessly lectures African Americans about their family values, host Megyn Kelly was a vision of sympathy and helpful talking points on behalf of the white, conservative Duggars, as they tried to reconcile their son’s child molesting with their squeaky-clean Christian “purity” image they’ve leveraged all these years.
As Salon noted, “The Duggars have long marketed themselves as exemplars of wholesome, biblical living… if not perfect, at least pure, and in particular, sexually pure. …The first episode of their ‘reality’ television show aired in 2008, two years after the police interviewed family members about the sexual assaults that had taken place in 2002 and 2003; the statute of limitations had already run and the police could not pursue charges.”
That is the crux of this scandal and no amount of explanation by the Duggars about how they handled their son’s misconduct can make us pay no attention to the family behind the curtain.
However, nobody can blame Megyn Kelly for not making her best image rehab efforts. With the Duggars, Kelly acted more like their attorney than any “straight news” journalist.
For example, in the first video below, Kelly went over the process by which the family turned their son over to the police – long after they learned of his molesting. Kelly helpfully noted that son Joshua “told it all” to the police. And when the Duggars said they had no idea that the police officer they went to would later go to jail on child pornography charges, Kelly gratuitously announced, “So critics who say, ‘Oh, they chose that guy because they thought he’d be sympathetic' – not true.”
That officer now claims that Joshua only told him about one instance of molestation (when in reality it was multiple times). But Kelly deliberately cast doubt on the officer’s credibility, saying, “And now from prison – from prison now, where he’s serving for child pornography, he said, ‘Well, (Josh) only told me about one incident.’ That’s why he didn’t pursue charges.”
Then, after Jim Bob Duggar wondered if the former officer said that in order to get parole sooner, Kelly interrupted to summarize the good news on behalf of the Duggars. “The bottom line is, you went to a law enforcement official, you reported it, Josh told him what – you say he told them everything,” she said.
In the final segment, Kelly ignored the elephant of hypocrisy in the room and helped paint the Duggars as conservative victims. She asked, “Do you think that the backlash against the Duggars has been greater because people object to who you are and what you stand for? …Do you think in particular your Christian beliefs are at issue here?”
Yes, they did. “I don’t know if the rest of our family should be punished for the act of one of our children for something that happened 12 years ago or not,” Jim Bob Duggar complained. But, he insisted, the family would be fine whether their TV show continued or not. “We’re gonna go on and live life, we’re gonna go on and serve God and make a difference in the world.”
“We’re going to enjoy our children and enjoy our grandchildren and continue on with life. Either way we’re at peace,” Michelle Duggar chimed in.
But soon the Duggars just happened to echo the very same “liberal media victim” complaints about the release of juvenile records that Kelly suddenly came up with, once Fox got around to discussing the story. The synchronicity again raises questions about the connections between the Duggars, their PR agency that also works for former Fox host Mike Huckabee, and Fox News.
“This information was released illegally and so I wonder why all this press is not going after the system for releasing the juvenile records. That is a huge story,” Jim Bob Duggar said.
“It must have been terrible. I mean, I’m sure you’re going through hell right now,” Kelly commiserated.
Michelle Duggar said the daughters have “been victimized more” by the scandal than the actual molestation because they didn’t know that their brother had inappropriately fondled them in their sleep.
As I’ve said before, the Duggars have a point about the release of juvenile records to the press. But, unfortunately for them, the story about their hypocrisy is much bigger than the story about the release of juvenile records.
Kelly’s sensitivity to the Duggars’ predicament was quite a contrast to her hostile badgering of the Freddie Gray family attorney. Then, she demanded that he “trust in the system” and accept in advance an exoneration of the Baltimore police officers, despite the fact that Gray was an obvious victim, having inexplicably died while in police custody. She has since decided her own directive does not apply to herself.
As for the illegal release of private information? Kelly applauded the creators and promotors of the illegally and deceptively recorded ACORN videos. But guess which race most of those victims were?
*You know—like how college students are required to take classes outside their major field to graduate. Like biology majors have to take some chemistry classes. So I’d think a law student needs a couple of courses on “consent” even for corporate law majors (that’s why parents generally have to sign off when their minor children want to get an after-school or summer job; a job application is a type of contract).